The thing with Christmas, for me and M, is that traditional Christmas cakes and puddings are out, because M doesn’t like them. Fair enough, not everyone does. I do, the Christmas cake anyway, so I stick to a little one, but I like the chocolate chip panettones that we get as an alternative as well. I’m unfussy like that.

But we need a substitute for the Christmas pudding. Most of the bought-offerings seem to be overly chocolatey. Don’t get me wrong, I like chocolate. Love it, in fact. I have a recipe for a Death by Chocolate cake that has been known to use up to a kilo of chocolate. But there’s so much chocolate about at Christmas that I’m reluctant to add to it by having a chocolate dessert. We might get a Yule log, but I also want something else.

I’ve been considering a cheesecake, probably with non-grape fruits, like the Hummingbird and Delia ones I made earlier this year. But a festive version.

Thus, Spiced Orange and Cranberry.

This uses the Hummingbird New York Cheesecake recipe as a base, but with the addition of festive spices, orange flavouring, and cranberries. Since this was my first attempt, there are, sadly, a few tweaks that need making, which means I’ll just have to make it again (once we’ve eaten all of this one, just to make sure). Oh no.

Among the tweaks to be made, we think perhaps the spices should mixed into the biscuit base, and orange zest and juice rather than flavouring. I just happened to have the flavouring to hand, but no oranges. And perhaps I’ll defrost the cranberries before I stir them in.

And remember to line the tin properly, not just the base.

Otherwise, I thought it a very respectable first attempt.